Review: Words on Bathroom Walls is a powerful examination of mental illness

There are plenty of big-screen offerings in cinemas across the country - and more to come in Santa's sack as awards season heats up.

This week, a film called Words on Bathroom Walls is released - a powerful examination of mental illness.

Normalising mental illness through cinematic storytelling can be a powerful tool when it's done right.

Here, with Charlie Plummer in the lead role, Words on Bathroom Walls shows just how it's done.

Anyone lucky enough to see this up-and-coming actor in the fabulous festival film Lean On Pete will know he's destined for great things and he confirms that here as Adam, a high school student with a gift for cooking diagnosed with schizophrenia in his senior year.

When his mother's new boyfriend moves in, Adam's resentment increases his episodes along with the fraught and heartbreaking hit-and-miss mission his mother devotes herself to in order find him the right drugs to help him keep his illness in check.

When he meets Maya, it's clear they're both skilled at keeping secrets. Their journey will not be an easy one, as the voices in his head come to life and threaten to drown out his reality entirely.

Director Thor Freudenthal tells Adam's story with an accessible yet unflinching honesty and with Plummer gently infusing him with all the pain, the fear, the courage and the joy needed to bring him to life, we are all gifted a wonderful film to see out 2020.

Four stars.